WESTFIELD, Mass. – Westfield State University's baseball team continued is torrid pace at the plate, using a five-run fourth inning to break open a tight game as the Owls posted a 7-4 win over UMass-Dartmouth in a non-conference game at Bud and Jim Hagan Field on Wednesday afternoon.
The Owls improve to 17-4 on the season, and are 8-1 in New England since returning from their season-opening trip to Florida.
The Owls jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning, scoring a pair of runs as Alex Lafayette singled, Jared Ferrari followed with a double down the left field line, and Aaron Clancy traded places with Ferrari with a double that scored both runners.
UMass Dartmouth chipped away with one run in the third and another in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 2-2. In the third, Josh O'Neill walked, stole second, and then scored on a Nate Tellier double. In the fourth the Corsairs plated a run with a leadoff double from Ezequiel Sanchez and an RBI single from Kenny Michael to tie the game. Westfield starter Jamie Butler worked out of trouble in the inning with the help of Clancy, who threw Michael out trying to steal second, then Butler sandwiched two strikeouts around a pair of base hits to get out of the inning.
Westfield's big inning started when Ferrari recorded an infield single on a ball in the hole at short, Clancy singled, and Arismendy Larancuent followed with another single to score Ferrari. After a Tyler Beach sac bunt moved the runners to second and third, Owls sophomore center fielder Anthony Crowley pounded a triple to right center field to score two more runs. Dan Rokitowski added an RBI double and scored on John Lippincott's base hit. Lippincott extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
UMD added a single run in the top of the fifth inning as Mike Knell was hit by a pitch and eventually scored as Butler was chased after two hit batsmen and a pair of walks in the inning, but Owls senior Mike Hersey came out of the pen to end the threat with a strikeout. Knell finished with a statistically odd day, finishing 1-2 while reaching three times as a hit batsman and scored a pair of runs. Knell added the Corsairs final run in the ninth, singling and later scoring after a rundown play on the back end of a double steal attempt.
Hersey (1-0) was credited with the win in relief after stopping the threat and Sophomore Scott Strachan worked two scoreless innings for the Owls as well. Ferrari finished 2-3 at the plate with a pair of runs scored, and Clancy added a pair of hits for the Owls with two RBI.
Junior starter Michael Theriault (0-1) worked 3.2 innings and took the pitching loss. Erick Ramirez, Kenny Michael and O'Neill each had two hits apiece for the Corsairs (13-11).
Westfield takes the day off tomorrow before facing Framingham State in a key MASCAC doubleheader on Friday at 1:00 p.m. at Bud and Jim Hagan Field.